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'Jesus, Santa, and Walmart: A Christmas Story'

By Gary Miller '15, creative writing/theatre major

Gary Miller '15 presented his creative writing piece, 'Jesus, Santa, and Walmart: A Christmas Story,' at the Midwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities at Wartburg College on Nov. 2.

Jesus Christ walks into a bar . . . I know everyone has heard that joke before. Mel Gibson tells it all the time.

Let me start by saying I'm Jesus, yes, that Jesus, from the Bible. I know the first question you're going to ask and yes I have a six pack. Also, Mormon's got it right. That's the correct religion if anyone was wondering. 

Joseph Smith took credit for a Halloween prank I used to play during the dark ages. Back in the day when I was really into annoying the old ladies on my block, I made all my disciples and followers go door to door in ties selling my autobiography How I Learned to Walk on Water: Jesus and Pals. People mistranslated it as the Bible somehow. I remember going out one day and leaving flaming talking bushes on everyone's doorstep and running off when they answered. Moses gave me the idea when I learned to grow a beard from him. The town of Salem, Massachusetts probably took my jokes way too serious and made it a chore just to say, "Hello neighbor".

Gary Miller

Basically I like to have fun, do I go a little overboard sometimes? 

Maybe.

But I'm really just here to have a good time and combat evil and make the world a better place. My pranks are definitely cheekier than my Dad's, just ask that Job fellow.

Too soon?

Anyways, I am at this bar in Colorado Springs in the middle of September, on a Wednesday afternoon, for a dear friend of mine. The world knows him as Santa Claus.

The world has a very iconic image of the man. I completely understand how he feels. I saw a man wearing a shirt saying I'm his homeboy the other day. Kanye West has some weird fixation with me too!

Can't pick your fans I guess.

The world sees Santa as a jolly toy-giving socialist fat man out to praise the good kids and smite the wicked children. He's heaven's enforcer on Earth. The people of this world tend to respond more to material punishments than spending an eternity in Hell. Hell is basically an eternity spent shopping for an item on Black Friday and never being able to get it.

If they're real evil we just reincarnate them in Wyoming.

Santa is a plump jovial elf that lives in the north, surviving off of candy, Rumple Minze, and the tears of Osama Bin Laden. Go America.

He's let into people's homes in an agreement along the lines of more cookies means more presents. It doesn't take Will Hunting being good to figure out the jolly fat man loves him some sugar. He's also quite shorter than the pictures lead people to believe, but he's definitely the tallest of the elves. He's basically a giant elf with a Sylvester Stallone physique and a beard that would make ZZ Top look like a teenager's Katy Perry costume. Basically, take everything about the man that you may think you know, now go ahead and soak it in bourbon and chase it down with a Coke. Did you know he hates Coke too?

Christmas. How this was designated my birthday I owe to the pagans and my followers' penchant for having an, "as long as they aren't doing sex stuff naked and love Jesus, they can bring their trees inside," attitude.

Santa was often mistaken for Odin in those old days, the people mistaking his sleigh for a giant horse they dubbed Sleipnir. Idiots existed back then too.

If that sounds strange, much later on he crashed an experimental new sleigh in Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947 and folks started up with stories of little green men. Idiots existed then too.

Trust me when I tell you this, aliens exist and I would know . . . I created them with my Dad. They look a little like Charles Barkley and a lot like Clint Howard. I get sidetracked sometimes and I apologize. I guess that explains the platypus.

I sat down on the stool right next to Santa and saw the finished bottle of Rumple Minze that can start a riot in any man's heart. He took the top off the other and his flamethrower eyes told me total chaos was the intended order of the evening.

Slamming the bottle on the bar he flashed that exuberant smile, "It's a Rumple night my boy, this stuff tastes like Christmas".

I ordered water, it's free and I can turn it into whatever I want anyways. Works on cops all the time.

"Jesus, do you know why I called you to this bar in Colorado Springs? You're the only other guy I know who knows when people are sleeping or when they are awake. I trust you. Well, buddy I can tell you were not here because I wanted to visit that North Pole theme park and puke on the kids from the flying sleigh ride. I mean I did do that. The highlight of my day was a sack race down a mountain. I won and used the prize money to buy this nifty candy cane. It's also not because of the NORAD base that tracks me every year because they still think I'm a communist. Do I look like Stalin, Marx, or Jimmy Fallon? I care about the kids Jesus you know that! That damn Max Bargin ruined everything for me! As a favor for his mother the tooth fairy I hire the punk and he ruins me from the inside. He was the worst carpenter I've ever seen. Good business sense though. He tells me he can ease the work load by using all these retail stores for Christmas because Christmas was evolving.

"I decide to go with it since kids start asking for Nintendo's and Gameboxes, I don't know what the hell they're called. My elves can't manufacture that stuff for all the kids so I figure why not? Little extra help wouldn't hurt. Soon as I know it I'm out as the boss and all the work is outsourced. Not one damn Elf working. He even has kids working, but no elves. Would you replace Legolas with Frodo? NO! Friggin idiot. The North Pole is a damned ski resort now. My elves are jobless and off in Nunavut right now doing stuff only your dad knows. I saw one Elf do well for himself despite his situation, goes by Michael J. Fox now. I spit out my beer when I seent him in Doc Hollywood! Max Bargin screwed Christmas and I end up becoming a bigger mascot than you or Ronald McDonald. Kids can do whatever they want and still get presents. Nobody knows how to lose anymore Jesus. They just get it handed to them. Being Santa used to mean something. I'm fed up. I'm just a figurehead now. Max Bargin can go to Hell. He already ran Christmas in that direction."

Max Bargin, the son of the Tooth Fairy and Stan Smallton, founder of Small Mart. He is the kid who comes to the birthday party eats the entire cake, plays with the toys before the birthday boy, and somehow leaves with the birthday money too. He's a cataclysm of Western superiority washed down with a peanut butter sandwich and whole milk. He's a cricket than can play Metallica's greatest hit to keep the neighbors up at night. His physical appearance is like a man sculpted from marble but dipped in vitrol. Army tanks get self-conscious when he walks by them. If he was a dinosaur he'd basically be a tyrannosaurus flex. He's a Starbucks drive through. Picture the stereotype of a Wall Street banker with the voice of a Russian body builder and the articulation of Socrates.

Even the most vile and caustic remarks from his mouth can enter the untrained ear like a cup of hot chocolate to a child's mouth after a day of sledding. He's a soothsayer of Christmas ruin. A pugnacious brat who has earned the right to hoard all the coal in the world. Every Christmas villain pales in comparison to him because he won the battle behind the scenes and nobody even knows it. Every major store, commercial, or restaurant you've ever seen the guy secretly owns. He makes the monopoly guy look like my friend Gandhi in comparison. Love thy neighbor is my motto, except Max Bargin, never lend that man sugar.

"Jesus, I called you down here because I've set up a fight with Max just like we used to. Back in the old days. I mean how we used to do it. The contest is a Decathalon. It's going to be mano y mano. A test of might and brains my friend. Remember when your Dad fought Zeus over who got to receive thanks in every speech at the MTV awards? Were going to do it ten times bigger. I may be from the North Pole, but damn it I believe in the American dream. This Bargin guy has denied my pursuit of happiness for far too long. He wants to take my elves out of a job, I told the guy he better pack a lunch and bring a bunch. Santa Claus is about to get jolly on his ass."

Contests like this are nothing new and every great hero must go through one. I had to do this to the Beatles when they started getting bigger than me. I sent my spy Yoko Ono in and tore them apart. Paul Bunyan lost a keg drinking competition to Teddy Roosevelt. Paul faded into a warbling mess within a week. When a wager is set in these types of competitions they are carried through. In Paul's case he became the Brawny mascot and has been getting steady work ever since in some foreign car commercials.

Teddy knew Paul would hate being turned into the very thing he hated most. A flannel wearing purveyor of disposable towels.

With Paul out of the picture chopping down trees and making mountains, Teddy was free to conserve all the trees he loved. In that forest he could be free to fight bears with his fists and have tea parties with Big Foot, the tea is always whiskey.

Santa and I kept talking about Christmas and how we once fought over the credit. Back then nobody would've known that we would become best friends. Now were like the Osmonds. It's amazing how things come full circle like this.

Santa took one last pull of his Rumple and I finished my tequila. If you expected wine you should know that I'm Mexican. Didn't want to spoil that for my followers because I kind of look like Jim Henson complexion wise. My mother is actually Mexican and came to Israel because of a blind date Gabriel the angel set up for my Dad.

Joseph ended up raising me on Earth and was a pretty great Step-dad, I really feel bad about all those times he took me hunting and I would resurrect the animals just to mess with him.

This one time he was teaching me how to build a table and I made it look like ghosts were lifting it up. He said my name in vain and I being God on Earth had to punish him. It's socially weird when a son has to spank his father but that's how my household was. So many memories.

Oh my drunk I'm God.

Let me sleep this one off and get back to you on the next paragraph.

I woke up to the deliciously Christmas smell that was so familiar at the Claus house. A breakfast of candy canes, root beer, and chocolate flavored seal meat from the South Pole.

"This is my training table Jesus. Were going to start training today."

Right then and there a montage began. Bargin and Santa simultaneously training to Erasure's hit, "A Little Respect". In the end that's all we are really looking for.

With the date set for December 23, 2014 the two giants of Christmas will go head to head. It's a meeting of the old school and the new school. Classic Christmas idealism locking horns with modern consumer Christmas. If you have kids, are thinking about kids, or generally just love Christmas, mark your calendars. This is going to settle Christmas once and for all.